Mon | Jan 22, 2018

Ganja conflict of interest

Published:Monday | March 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I read a report in the Sunday Gleaner (March 26, 2017) highlighting that the National Council on Drug Abuse (NCDA) is pointing to a major increase in marijuana use by young people. Frankly, I have to agree with Mr Delano Seiveright that the information is very suspicious.

For me, it comes as no surprise that probably Jamaica's most vocal leading anti-ganja advocate, Dr Winston De La Haye, is now the chief medical officer in the Ministry of Health, a complete conflict of interest in any rational space.

Dr De La Haye, as everyone in Jamaica should know, plays or has played a leadership role at NCDA who may very well rely on negative data to garner more support for their efforts.


Destroying the wish of the majority


For Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton to sit idly by and have Dr De La Haye - who now sets policy, and who in the past has carried a series of controversial and, in my view, dubious reports inimical to the use of ganja - continue as chief medical officer either means he is hell bent on destroying the wish of the majority of Jamaicans, including people in business, academia and Rastafari for liberalisation, or that he just doesn't care.

Dr Tufton and his ministry now find themselves at odds with strong trends in modern western democracies whose scientists and medical communities have either embraced or are indifferent to the liberalisation of ganja.

Many states in the United States and other countries, including Canada, the Netherlands and Germany, have gone far ahead with lessening concerns about high use among young people in general.

If Jamaica fails to get off the ground with a medical ganja industry, it is clear that the blame must be put squarely at the feet of Dr Tufton.

Victoria Wilson (PhD.)

Orlando, Florida, USA